In 1898 Olaf Ohman, a Swedish immigrant farmer, claimed he discovered a stone covered with Norse runic letters on his farm near Kensington, Minnesota. His discovery didn’t get much attention until Hjalmar Holand, a Wisconsin historian interested in Scandinavian immigration, promoted it as an authentic relic dating to 1362. Throughout the 20th century, support for the Kensington Runestone’s authenticity waxed and waned. In the early 21st century, the Runestone found new champions in Scott Wolter, the president of a cement testing company in Minneapolis, and Richard Nielson, a Texas engineer. The authenticity of the Kensington stone continues to be debated, although interest in the stone has once again waned as Wolter has moved on to reality TV stardom and Nielson has died. Arguments for and against the Kensington Runestone will be presented in the contexts of archaeology, history, linguistics, geography, pseudoscience, common sense, and Scandinavian humor.
Scott Anfinson is the former Minnesota State Archaeologist and author of several archaeology publications.
Social 6:30 p.m., Awards 7 p.m., Lecture 7:30 p.m.